India’s import of refined edible oil has declined by a little over 50 per cent in the past two months, after the Union government imposed a 5 per cent “safeguard duty” in response to pleas from the processing industry.
The data compiled by the apex industry body, Solvent Extractors Association (SEA), shows import of refined, bleached and de-odorised (RBD) oil declined 53 per cent to 123,000 tonnes in November, from 264,000 tonnes in September. The safeguard duty was imposed on August 26 on RBD palmolein, primarily imported from Malaysia.
That was right after critical remarks by the Malaysian prime minister on India’s removal of Article 370 from the Constitution regarding Jammu and Kashmir.
Apart from RBD, India annually imports around nine million tonnes (mt) of crude palm oil from Indonesia, and three mt from Argentina, to help meet its annual import requirement of 15.5 mt. Domestic demand is around 25 mt a year.
“The only reason for the decline in RBD palmolein import is the safeguard duty imposed on import from Malaysia. Going forward also, its import is expected to remain subdued,” said B V Mehta, executive director of SEA.
The decline in import of refined edible oil pulled down overall import of vegetable oils in November to 669,363 tonnes, from 880,346 tonnes in September.